Nightshade sensitivities and allergies are becoming more talked about and mainstream. Not a top 8 allergen, but nightshade allergies can literally be toxic to some and cause a mass of inflammation throughout the body. A category of food to watch for those with autoimmune diseases as inflammation is one of the main reactions. First, nightshades are vegetables and fruits that contain saponins, alkaloids, and lectins. While most people are completely fine digesting these, some are not. Often connected to gluten or dairy intolerences, symptoms of a nightshade intolerance overlap. Symptoms can include: digestive distress (heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, gas, bloating, gurgling, IBS, leaky gut), mood swings, depression, headaches, joint pain or stiffness, muscle aches, insomnia, malabsorption (iron, calcium, minerals).
Problems with nightshades are mostly seen in Caucasians and is mostly genetic. If you continue to eat nightshades while you have an allergy/intolerance to them or you eat nightshades in abundance, the rick of developing leaky gut becomes prevalent. Nightshades contain alkaloids (poisonous in large amounts) and saponins which can cause tiny tears in your digestive tracks tissue lining. Lectins can also cause stomach problems, but only in large amounts. Again, most people are fine, but if you only eat nightshades you may end up with leaky gut which can progress to other inflammatory diseases.
These chemicals in nightshades are so similarly linked to the reactions that gluten and dairy can cause, thus, those with digestive issues relating to those foods and continue to have stomach issues, may want to take a look at the amount of nightshades they are eating. Autoimmune diseases like celiac, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, crohn’s disease (or colitis), grave’s disease, multiple sclerosis, hashimoto’s disease, and lupus, may find additional relief from going nightshade free. So which food should you actually avoid?
So you see the big obvious foods are eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers! No red sauce for you! Also no white potatoes (i.e. Russet, red, baking, fingerling, etc.). However, all sweet potatoes and yams are okay! Load up on the Japanese! It’s also a misconception that peppercorn (i.e. black or white pepper, the spices) are a no-no. However, they are NOT nightshades.
Have no fear! There are always substitutions, like making red sauces out of carrots and beets, cauliflower for “mashed” white potatoes, and even ketchup, sauce, and bbq sauce from one of my favorite nightshade free companies Nomato! Being the ketchup lover that I am, I can tell you, Nomato’s ketchup is fantastic!
So tell me:
+ Are you on or have you ever tried a nightshade free diet? I would love to hear your story!
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